Albanian President Ilir Meta has been accused by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama of forging documents to grant Ghanaian international Winful Cobbinah Albanian citizenship.
Albanian President Ilir Meta has granted full Albanian citizenship to the Ghanaian footballer, who has only been in Albania for two years, while it takes five years of continuous legal residence to apply for citizenship.
The return of Albanian citizenship to Winful Cobbinah was facilitated within eight hours.
Prime Minister Edi Rama reacted to the President’s move to grant citizenship to the Ghanaian footballer, and accused him of forging documents for the star of FK Tirana.
Albanian President Tedi Blushi’s spokesman reacted to the Prime Minister’s accusations of forgery of documents by the President for the granting of Albanian citizenship to Cobbinah, describing the Albanian Prime Minister’s allegations as an anti-national attack against the FK Tirana team and its supporters via a Twitter post.
As the Ghanaian footballer has not spent five years in Albania, the decision of the country’s President, an ardent supporter of FK Tirana, to hand over his citizenship to Ghana speaks volumes about how he is evaluated in that country.
According to reports from Ghana, this move by the Albanian government is an attempt to persuade Cobbinah to change nationality to play for them, although he has been called to the Ghana national team several times.
Nonetheless, with the relaxation of the FIFA citizenship regulations, this could be a move by Albania to force him to play for the country, even though Cobbinah has shown no interest in playing for Albania.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Bledi Çuçi reacted to the revelations circulating across the media regarding the alleged grant of Albanian citizenship by the President, in violation of the law.
In his reaction, Çuçi condemns what he calls President Meta’s unprecedented attack on publisher Carlo Bolino.
“The president of the country, who months ago appeared as a ‘lover’ of freedom of speech and called for the creation of ‘new and transparent media’, today unprecedentedly attacked a publisher for sharing with the public the scandal some people obtaining Albanian passports with blatant violation of the law”, said Çuçi.
“The attack and shameful use of the Presidency is unthinkable, something which unfortunately has become an appendage of the family party of Ilir Meta, the SMI, that left in the direction of the accused, who will receive the answer on April 25”, Minister Çuçi said.
In response, Culture Minister Elva Margariti said: “A few days ago, the head of state congratulated an investigative journalist, calling her a ‘free speech missionary’, while today he attacked a colleague for doing her job. Shouldn’t freedom of speech be granted to everyone? Shouldn’t the President be the first to defend this right?”. /ibna